The country’s housing sector is in need of urgent reforms and strategic planning, the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV), Lagos Branch, has said.
The institution noted that many agitation and questions about housing provision, affordability and availability to those who really needed it in the country had been left unanswered for many years, while the deficit had been growing annually.
The Chairman, Lagos Branch, NIESV, Mr. Offiong Ukpong, who addressed journalists as part of activities to mark the 2016 Estate Surveyors and Valuers’ Week, said that in 2014, the country had 17 million housing deficit and that it would have risen to about 21 million if six per cent annual growth formula is used.
He queried, “Between 2014 and now, the big question is what quantity has been supplied? If the government promises 100,000 units of housing annually, in how many years shall the demand gap be bridged? What should be the amount of houses to be supplied by both the public and private sectors annually to meet this demand and who keeps the statistics of our housing demand and supply?
“Are we in fact supplying housing or shelter? What is the cost of the houses? In which location and for who? Can a minimum wage earner honestly from his income and without any form of inducement or corruption afford to own a house worth N3.5m?”
Ukpong said the problem was appointing non-professionals to handle housing issues, which he said had also been replicated in the mortgage sector where commercial bankers had been left to manage mortgages.
“Mortgage is socialism, while banking is capitalism; therefore, core capitalists should not administer mortgages,” he said.
He added that except the interest rate on mortgage was reduced to a single digit for not less than 25 years, the sector would not contribute to bridging the housing gap in the country.
“Any interest rate above four per cent and for less than 25 years cannot work; it will not be attractive. Repayment will be difficult and default will be high. If we expect mortgage banks to pay themselves from the money they generate and make profit, there is no way the interest rate will not be high. Therefore, government intervention like in agriculture and energy is required,” Ukpong added.
The Public Relations Officer of NIESV in the branch, Mr. Moses Emele, noted that mass housing was the way out of the challenge for inadequate shelter and that the government should provide an enabling environment for the private sector by facilitating easier access to land.